Javier Bardem Biography
Javier Ángel Encinas Bardem was born on March 1, 1969, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to a family of actors and filmmakers. He is the grandson of actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro and the nephew of screenwriter and director Juan Antonio Bardem. On his uncle’s side, he is also a cousin of filmmaker Miguel Bardem.
Javier Bardem’s family background was politically charged, as his uncle Juan Antonio Bardem was imprisoned by Francisco Franco for his anti-fascist films. Despite this, Bardem was raised in the Roman Catholic faith by his grandmother.
As a child, Javier Bardem spent time at theaters and on film sets, but he did not envision himself going into the family business. Instead, he pursued painting and studied it for four years at Madrid’s Escuela de Artes y oficios. However, he eventually found himself taking on acting jobs to support his painting career but realized he was not very good at it and abandoned it to pursue acting.
Javier Bardem’s first film appearance was at the age of six in Fernando Fernán Gómez’s El Pícaro (The Scoundrel). He also played rugby for the junior Spanish National Team. However, it was not until he was 21 years old that he gained notice in his first major motion picture, The Ages of Lulu, in which he appeared alongside his mother, Pilar Bardem.
He then went on to star in Jamón Jamón in 1992, directed by Bigas Luna, in which he played a would-be underwear model and bullfighter. The film was a major international success and also starred his eventual wife, Penélope Cruz.
Bardem’s talent did not go unnoticed in the English-speaking world. John Malkovich was the first to approach him for a role in English when Bardem was 27 years old, but he turned down the offer because his English was still poor. His first English-speaking role came in 1997 with director Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango, in which he played a santería-practicing bank robber.
In 2000, Javier Bardem gained international recognition for his portrayal of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls. For that role, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, the first for a Spaniard.
Javier Bardem won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for his role in Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) in 2004 and made his Hollywood debut in a brief appearance as a crime lord in the crime drama Collateral.
He starred in two film adaptations in 2007: the Coen brothers’ the adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera, and No Country for Old Men, in which he played a sociopathic assassin, Anton Chigurh. For his role in No Country for Old Men, he became the first Spaniard to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Javier Bardem went on to star in several blockbuster films, including Woody Allen’s romantic drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful in 2010. In 2012 he starred as the main Bond villain, Raoul Silva in Sam Mendes’s James Bond spy film Skyfall, and later in Asghar Farhadi’s mystery drama Everybody Knows in 2018.
Javier Bardem has been nominated for three additional Academy Awards for his roles in Before Night Falls, Biutiful, and Being the Ricardos in 2021.
Javier Bardem is not only an accomplished actor but he has also been involved in other aspects of the film industry. In 2010, he produced a documentary titled Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony, which focuses on the political situation in the Western Sahara region. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was well-received by critics.
In addition to his work in film, Javier Bardem has also been a vocal activist for various causes. He has been an advocate for Greenpeace and has spoken out against climate change. Bardem has also been a supporter of the United Nations Development Programme, and has worked to raise awareness about issues such as poverty and inequality.
As for his personal life, Javier Bardem has been married to actress Penelope Cruz since 2010. The couple has two children together. Bardem is known for being a private person, and he has spoken in interviews about the importance of keeping his personal life separate from his work.
Despite this, he has also been candid about his struggles with anxiety and depression, and has spoken out about the importance of mental health awareness.